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Christine L. Williams, Chair CLA 3.306, Mailcode A1700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-232-6300

Spring 2009

SOC 317M • Intro to Social Research

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
45600 TTh
T
9:30 AM-11:00 AM
3:30 PM-5:00 PM
BUR 214
BUR 124
Buckley

Course Description

This course is intended to familiarize students with a variety of methodologies employed in sociological research as well as the epistemological, ethical and interpretive implications of different methodologies. Students will become familiar with types of hypothesis generation and the establishment of tests, data identification, gathering and coding and the interpretation, summation and presentation of results. They should be prepared to take multiple choice and short answer essay examinations on these topics. Through the homework assignments students will utilize some of the methods presented in the text and the reading. By the end of the course students will be expected to write a research proposal, including a brief literature review, identification of the problem to be examined, hypotheses, data required, how the data will be gathered, how the data will be interpreted and the implications of the study. ALL STUDENTS SEEKING A DEGREE IN SOCIOLOGY MUSY PASS 317M. YOU ARE ONLY GIVEN 2 ATTEMPTS AT THIS COURSE (INCLUDING LATE DROPS).

Grading Policy

1. Lab assignments
There will be 6 lab assignments throughout the semester. Students are expected to complete a minimum of 4 assignments. Students completing all six assignments have the option of EITHER taking their four highest scores (DROPPING THE 2 LOWEST SCORES), OR substituting the total points gained on their last two assignments for the final hourly examination. Each lab assignment will be worth 25 points. The topics are as follows: 1) Ethics and confidentiality, 2) Research Design, 3) Sampling 4) Survey Construction, 5) Focus Groups 6) Modeling
2. Examinations
There will be two in class hourly examinations, each worth 50 points. As stated above, students have the option of substituting the final two homework assignments for the last hourly examination. Information gained in lab will be on the examinations. There is NO final exam.
3. Research Proposal
The primary assignment this semester is a 15 to 18 page (double spaced) research proposal. This assignment is worth 100 points. Participants are encouraged to submit a hard copy of their proposal. If submitting electronically, they should do so in plenty of time to receive a confirmation of the file receipt (i.e send BEFORE 4 pm). Drafts of the proposal are encouraged, and will be graded and returned promptly.
4. Extra Credit There are three available avenues for extra credit:
A. Individuals coming to class consistently and participating in discussions and blackboard chat groups can earn up to 6 extra credit points (3 for each half of the course). B. Individuals attending a research lecture, brown bag, or symposium in any department in the College of Liberal Arts and writing a one page report of the methods used by the researcher may earn up to 3 extra credit points (may be repeated, but limited to 6 points total) C. Students writing a one page letter of advise to future students of the course may earn up to 3 extra credit points. These letters are due the last day of class. Examples can be found on the course web site, under course documents.
5. Grading Policies 300 points total- graded on straight scale
A. I typically use a straight scale to assign grades, but reserve the right to curve the final distribution downward if the class average falls below 70% (this has never happened, yet). B. Under no circumstances will any arguments concerning "close calls" be entertained. If the cut off line for an A is 270 points and you have 269 points, you will receive a B for the class. Keep a note of extra credit options.

Texts

Babbie, The Basics of Social Research, 2007, fourth edition

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